Watch: Kalani David's Last Dance - Stab Mag

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Watch: Kalani David’s Last Dance

A final surf part from the Hawaiian surf/skate prodigy.

Words by Michael Ciaramella
Reading Time: 3 minutes

On September 17, 2022, Hawaiian surf and skate prodigy Kalani David passed away while visiting his family in Costa Rica.

Kalani suffered a seizure while surfing in Playa Hermosa and was unable to be resuscitated. He was 24 years old.

To the surfing world, Kalani was an extraordinary talent, a child star, and a former Stab High finalist.

But of course, he was so much more than that — a son, a brother, and a loyal friend to so, so many.

Rest in peace, Kalani.

We’re working on a long-form written piece that explores Kalani’s life — from the triumphs to the many hardships he endured — but in the meantime, we wanted to share Kalani’s final surf edit with the world.

His last dance, if you will.

This edit is called ‘Iwa Bird’, because it was filmed in Kalani’s hometown on the North Shore of Oahu (Hale’iwa translates to: Home of the ‘Iwa (bird)). Kalani identified with this place so much, he had an ‘Iwa Bird tattooed across his ribs.

The clips were filmed primarily by Heath Thompson and Peter King and edited by Kalani’s friend and fellow Dark Seas team-rider Schuyler Allen, who decided to integrate a narrative of Kalani’s life alongside his A+ surf clips.

Kalani pays homage to two of his best friends, who also lost their lives too soon.

Here’s where it gets weird.

Most of Stab’s staff (myself included) is currently in Indonesia, filming for Vans Stab High presented by Monster Energy at Lakey Peak.

On the morning of September 18th, we awoke to a strange and saddening flurry of texts from Schuyler.

2:30 am: Hey guys, I have a new version of the Kalani David edit here [link]. Let us know if it’s something you’d want to run.

5:22 am: I can’t even fucking believe it. Kalani just passed away.

Shocked and confused, we took a moment to process and verify the news. Then we hit play on the video. Our eyes welled up and quickly spilled over. The poignancy of the piece — which, to be abundantly clear, was made prior to Kalani’s death — is almost too much to bear.

So with that, we present to you ‘Iwa Bird’ — Kalani David’s final part, with five minutes of never-before-seen surf clips and interviews. You can watch it above.

Gone but not forgotten.

Now a word from Schuyler Allen, who edited ‘Iwa Bird’.

Last winter, I was fortunate enough to share the lineup with Kalani during many of the sessions in this clip.

Heath would call us up to film and we would rendezvous at the beach. Kalani was usually out there by the time I arrived and had already put down a couple big airs or got a crazy tube. His all gas/no brakes approach made you reimagine the possibilities on a wave. He lived and surfed with raw energy and his heart on his sleeve.

Kalani was on a heater last winter. After a semi-final finish in the HIC Pipe Pro, he qualified for the Challenger Series and was set to compete at Snapper. It was a couple months later when Kalani suffered two seizures and had to pull out of the Challenger Series events. Kalani had overcome so much in his life, surely, he would persevere through this as well.

I’m humbled to have worked with him on this part. His surfing, and Heath and PK’s filming, made it a pleasure to edit. The more I watched his surfing and listened to his story, the more I was inspired. He lived more in his 24 years than most will in 100. 

This winter is for you, Kalani. We love you. 

There is currently a petition to return Kalani’s ashes back to Hawaii, where his closest friends and family are waiting to give him a proper send-off in the sea. You can sign it here.